So you want to build the next big thing in software products? You want it to be so good that customers can’t stop raving about the product. That’s fine. But before you embark on developing this wonderful piece of product, ask yourself these questions: What kind of development method is suitable for my business idea? How do I know if it’s suitable for me? What are the pros and cons of different development methods? How do I know which method is best suited to my business idea? Should I be fine with just one method or should I pick a couple of methods that work together well?
I have this business idea. What should I look out for in order to achieve success with my first product release? What are the common pitfalls that first-time entrepreneurs fall into when developing software products?
Software Product Development Methods
There are several software product development methodologies available. The most prominent ones are Waterfall, Agile, Lean Startup, RAD, Scrum, Big Bang, etc. Each of these has its own philosophy and strategy. For a thorough discussion of each method, refer to a website such as Wikipedia. Here, we will give a short description of the methods and discuss points that should be considered before you decide to use one method or another.
The Waterfall Model is an old software development model where success was measured by how much work had been done rather than by whether it has any value for the customer. While it might have been appropriate when being first introduced decades ago, its usage is now strongly discouraged as it focuses too much on process and not enough on the outcome (value).
One of the main problems with this model is that it does not account for changes in requirements over time during development. Any changes in requirements or design must be implemented and tested in all downstream phases (requirements, design, and coding). As a result, waterfall projects are likely to suffer from considerable rework. On top of this, if changes cannot be implemented properly they can take up significant resources and time without the end user even realizing it.
Another problem with waterfall development is that such a model often leads to requirements spiking (when developers concentrate only on the features that will be completed within the next few months), which results in excessive usage of resources as well as late deliveries or bad quality software.
Given these problems and issues, it’s not surprising why many people nowadays favor other models over the Waterfall model.
Iterative Process Model
While the Waterfall approach focuses on implementing one phase before moving on to the next one, the Iterative process model concentrates on the sequential implementation of different phases.
This results in a working version that is delivered at the end of each iteration and then general improvements and enhancements can be made. Each cycle or iteration should sum up to a meaningful milestone.
Also read: Magento development service
In case you are an owner of a small business, you might have heard about Sprints used by many start-ups. In short, Sprint is a fixed timeframe for completing one deliverable in a given project/task, which represents a set of activities carried out together during the same time period with a clear deadline and goals in mind (i.e., completed feature). If there’s no obvious end date that means that development sprints will continue until done. Almost all of the projects can be divided into sprints because it’s easy to plan and divide work into stages.
The main advantage is that the development team can focus on one task at a time and deliver results as quickly as possible. With multiple teams working on different products, the Sprint process helps each group to align their efforts with other groups and increase visibility across the organization by clearly defining what everyone should be working on at any given time. It also focuses effort and encourages daily collaboration and coordination among team members and stakeholders, which often results in a greater understanding of project complexities and dependencies between teams.
In the end, the iteration/sprint planning meeting shall result in acceptance from all regarding the plan for the next iteration or currently running one, and it’s important that all those present agree with the plan. It is also important to note that those in the meeting must be cognizant of and pay attention to any relevant changes in capability/capacity, which may affect team milestones and Sprint goal(s).
With multiple teams working on different products, the sprint process helps each group to align their efforts with other groups and increase visibility across the organization by clearly defining what everyone should be working on at any given time. Sprint planning meetings are meetings held between an Agile team and its stakeholders (business analysts, product owners, etc.) during which they review the commitment for the upcoming iteration/sprint. During these, plans from previous sprints or from product backlog items that didn’t get the green light in a previous sprint are evaluated, and then each team member commits to the newsprint goal.
The sprint planning meeting starts with reviewing of last sprint accomplishments and completed stories/cards which were not accepted in a previous sprint. If nothing was completed during the last one or more sprints, it would be good to have a discussion on why did this happen and how can this be prevented from happening again? In the Scrum process, there is always an opportunity to learn from mistakes. Also, if some stories haven’t been fully estimated yet, their estimations should be done before they become eligible for a new Sprint. All completed stories from the previous sprint should be re-estimated.